Garnet Joseph Wolseley 1st Viscount Wolseley

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Wolseley, Garnet, 1st Viscount Wolseley (1833–1913). Soldier. The son of an Irish major, Wolseley joined the army in 1852 and served with distinction in the Burmese War and the Crimean War, being seriously wounded on two occasions. He was in India at the time of the mutiny and took part in the second Opium War against China in 1860. From 1861 he was in Canada, where he crushed the Red River rebellion in 1870 and then won more fame in the Ashanti war of 1873–4. His victory at Tel-el-Kebir in Egypt over Arabi Pasha in 1882 made him a national hero. He was promoted general and given a barony. Though his expedition in 1885 failed to rescue Gordon, Wolseley was not held responsible and was promoted viscount. He finished in 1894 as field marshal, one of the busiest and most successful of Victorian soldiers. His appointment as commander-in-chief in 1895, in succession to the duke of Cambridge, gave him the chance to implement some of the army reforms he had long advocated, though ill-health forced him to resign in 1899. All his victories, it has been remarked, were gained in colonial conflicts, but he did what was asked of him. Queen Victoria in 1874 found him ‘thin and grey, but well, and a very smart, active, wiry-looking man, full of energy’.

J. A. Cannon

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